Marta Santos Pais was appointed as Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG) on May 1st, 2009, and took up her position on September 1st, 2009. As a high level global independent advocate, Marta Santos Pais promotes the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children in all settings, including online and offline, the justice setting, in the home, in institutional care, in schools, in the workplace and in the community. She acts as a bridge builder in all regions, and across sectors and settings where violence against children may occur.
Marta Santos Pais has more than 30 years experience on legal cooperation and human rights concern and an active participation in United Nations and intergovernmental processes. She was a member of the UN Drafting Group of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and of its Optional Protocols and participated in the development of other key international human rights standards, including on the abolition of the death penalty, protection from disappearances, human rights of juveniles deprived of liberty and human rights defenders. She has authored a large number of publications on international and comparative law and human rights and children’s rights. Before her appointment as SRSG on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais was the Director of the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, and before then UNICEF Director of Evaluation, Policy and Planning. Previously, she was the Rapporteur of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and Vice-Chair of the Coordinating Committee on Childhood Policies of the Council of Europe. She was a Special Adviser to the UN Study on Violence against Children and to the Machel Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. In September 2017 she was awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa by the Maria Grzegorzewska University.